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My sincere thanks for your letter; gladly would I follow your very kind and "unselfish" request. To say "nay" to my friends always comes hard to me. But how can I act otherwise in face of the negativings of critics? And why should I not prefer abiding my time in peace alone?
Now-a-days an artist is reckoning without his host if he places honest faith in the public. For people now-a-days hear and judge only by reading the newspapers.
I mean to take advantage of this in so far that the leading and favorite papers of Vienna, Pest, Leipzig, Berlin, Paris, London, etc.--which abhor my humble compositions and have declared them worthless and objectionable--shall be relieved of all further outward trouble concerning them. What is the good of performances to people who only care to read newspapers?
Hence, dear good friend, let the "Gran Ma.s.s" [Herbeck, however, did have them performed.] and the "Glocken" ["Die Glocken des Stra.s.sburger Munsters"--"The Bells of Stra.s.sburg Cathedral"]
remain unperformed in Vienna, where (in Easter week) you shall receive a visit from yours most warmly and gratefully,
Budapest, March 3rd, 1875
166. To Eduard Von Liszt
Give Lenbach my kindest thanks, and at the same time ask him to send his extremely poetical portrait of Frau von Moukhanoff here soon in honor of the n.o.ble lady and of the musical Commemoration Festival which we have announced for the middle of May. [Liszt dedicated an Elegie to the memory of this gifted lady.]
Tomorrow morning early I go to Hanover; my address there till May 29th [This must mean the 29th April.] will be: "at Freiherr von Bronsart's, Intendant of the Hoftheater." On Sat.u.r.day is the performance of the "Elizabeth," and on the 29th the concert for the benefit of the Bach monument.
My gracious Grand Duke is very urgent about my speedy return; I shall, therefore, probably spend only 8 or 10 days at Schloss Loo (from the 2nd to the 12th May), and then return here forthwith.
The Tonkunstler-Versammlung is to be held in Dresden at the end of June. I long for some rest and quiet work.
Thine with all my heart,
Weimar, April 22nd, 1875
167. To Adelheid Von Schorn in Rome
Dear Excellent One,
I come to keep you company a little in your convalescence,--far advanced, I hope, so as to be something like a complete cure. For a tisane [A soothing drink] I offer you some news of your cara patria. There are few variations at Weimar: the Grand Duke and Grand d.u.c.h.ess remain there till the end of June; the Emperor of Russia is announced for the 25th June; the Hereditary Highnesses are going to the waters (Marienbad and Pyrmont) in a few days, and will return before the Grand Duke's fete (24th June); Gutschen Watzdorf is going on his own account independently to Carlsbad, Mme. de Loen to Reme (in Westphalia).
At the theater a tempered, but lively activity; during these latter weeks a new Drama by Otto Roquette has been given--Der Feind im Hause. [The enemy in the house.] The subject is taken from the quarrel of the Colonna in Rome; the success of the piece will not occasion any fresh quarrels; nor will that of two new Operas that I have seen--Der Widerspanstigen Bezahmung [The subduing of the refractory ones.] by Gotz and Golo of Scholz, which have come inopportunely into compet.i.tion with Schumann's Genoveva--a work which has been taken up again with marked success this year (after it had been prudently ignored for twenty years--except at Leipzig and Weimar) at Leipzig and Wiesbaden.
Other theaters will mix themselves up with it, in spite of the non-success of Genoveva at Vienna, where it was put on the stage in the winter of '74 with a most praiseworthy luxury of decoration and costumes.
At the time of the performance which I conducted, and that is some twenty years ago, I said: Genoveva is musically the sister of Fidelio; only Leonora's pistol is wanting.
Tristan and Isolde, announced here for the 15th and 19th May,...have remained at Munich with M. and Mme. Vogel, who have lost a child. Loen [The Weimar Intendant] and all the public are very much put out at this untimely mourning; possibly the Vogels will be able to come towards the end of June; I don't reckon on it much, but have written to them on the subject at Loen's request. If they accept, the Commemoration Matinee of Mme.
Moukhanoff will take place between the two performances of Tristan, and the "Tempelherrenhaus" in our park has been chosen by us as the spot for this musical commemoration. I will send you the programme.
Meanwhile here is that of Sat.u.r.day last at the "Orchestral School"--a very useful establishment, well adapted to our modestly proud situation of Weimar, and which Muller-Hartung conducts according to my wishes. [The concert "in honor of Liszt's first visit to the School" consisted entirely of works by him.] Bruch's Odysseus--a musical ill.u.s.tration of Preller's admirable pictures in the Weimar museum--was performed last Thursday, conducted also by Muller-Hartung.
La.s.sen is in the middle of composing some fine choruses for the two "Fausts," which Devrient is intending to get up here in two evenings, in conformity with his new scenic arrangement.
Very cordially yours,
Weimar, May 17th, 1875
168. To Eduard von Liszt
.--. The day after tomorrow I join the Duke of Weimar's party at Schloss Wilhelmsthal, and shall remain there several days. After that I should have liked to wait upon Cardinal Hohenlohe in Schillingsfurst; but His Eminence is at present at Bad Ragaz (Switzerland) undergoing some after-cure for a foot-trouble, the result of some accident he met with last winter. When I receive his answer I shall so arrange things that my visit to Schillingsfurst is paid as is agreeable in tempore opportuno.
From the 3rd to the 15th August I shall be in Bayreuth; after that I shall this year end with Weimar (without playing "Tannhauser" there, as a guest!) at the Carl-August Festival on September 3rd, for which I have written a short and simple chorus in popular style, the text of which is furnished by King David: "The Lord preserveth the souls of His saints, and light is sown for the righteous."
In contemplating this light in all humility,
I am, in true affection,
Weimar, July 17th, 1875
Enclosed are a few words for our Marie. If I had to choose a cousin I should choose her. Hence I confess my innermost elective-affinity with papa and daughter.
Lenbach's wondrously inspired portrait of Madame Moukhanoff will tomorrow be sent back to Vienna to the Countess Coudenhoven.
169. To Louis Kohler
Very Dear Friend,
Merit and success, in your case, would seem always to stand in perfectly delightful harmony. Best thanks for your kindly letter and for sending your Opus 147: "Technische Kunstler-Studien"
["Technical Artist-Studies"]. And although I am more disposed to turn away from than towards Methods and Pedagogics, still I have read this work of yours with interest. The entrance of the pedal after the striking of the chords as indicated by you at the beginning of page 3, and as consistently carried through by you almost to the utmost extreme, seems to me an ingenious idea, the application of which is greatly to be recommended to pianoforte players, teachers and composers--especially in slow tempi.
I regret that we are geographically so far apart; but sympathetically I remain in sincere esteem and in all friendliness yours,
Schloss Wilhelmsthal, July 27th, 1875
My friendly greetings to your very talented pupil Alfred Reisenauer. Perhaps you may be coming to Weimar again shortly; I should be pleased to hear this.